We visited Atomic Fiction Co-Founders, Kevin Baillie and Ryan Tudhope and uncovered how their passion for visual effects as teenagers led to their dream gig at ILM and later inspired them to start their own facility.
Los Angeles -- Deep Space 9 was the first spin-off from the Star Trek franchise series that didn't have the direct creative involvement of The Great Bird of The Galaxy as Gene Roddenberry, the show's creator, was fondly nicknamed by Associate Producer Robert Justman. It was, however, given the green light shortly before his death in 1991. The series creators, Rick Berman and Michael Piller with the support of Brandon Tartikoff helmed the Paramount Television production while STNG (Star Trek The Next Generation) was still in full production.
The show was noted for its well-developed characters, its original, complex plots, religious themes and for starring the only black captain of all the Star Trek series to be featured as the show's protagonist. The series often showcased darker themes, less physical exploration of space, and (in later seasons) an emphasis on many aspects of war.
It truly was a bold attempt to go where no writer at that time had gone before. Think of DS9 as a precursor to another Sci Fi that weaved similar themes, Babylon 5. More on that later.
But back to DS9. The scenario that was created by a writing staff still in the midst of the Star Trek saga, as a matter of fact, the station's first appearance was TNG during the sixth season Birthright followed by several crossover episodes that laid the foundation of this Dodge City of outer space. The concept was so versatile that it would later be included in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Voyager's Caretaker.
The story line for those of you who were either too young or not born yet centers on a former Cardassian (Lizard like looking creatures) space station called Terok Nor. After the Bajorans overthrow the brutal enslavement by the Cardassians. (I know sounds familiar beginning with a K and I am not talking about Caitlyn Jenner which begins with a C but relatively close). The Federation reaches an agreement with the Bajoran Provisional Government to jointly administer the station, which orbits Bajor until a wormhole is discovered. Turning the space port into a port of call when the station is moved to the edge of the wormhole, linking the Gamma Quadrant with the Alpha Quadrant. It is then renamed Deep Space 9. Hence the title of the series.
According to co-creator Berman, he and Piller had considered setting the new series on a colony planet, but they felt a space station would both appeal more to viewers and save money that would be required for on-location shooting for a "land-based" show. However, they were certain they did not want the show to be set aboard a star-ship because TNG was still in production at the time and, in Berman’s words, it "just seemed ridiculous to have two shows—two casts of characters—that were off going where no man has gone before."
Unlike in Star Trek: The Next Generation, interpersonal conflicts were featured prominently in DS9. The setting of the show—a space station rather than a star-ship—provided an opportunity for the writers to delve deeper into the interpersonal relationships and behavior. Something they were limited to on TNG.
Here is a link address to our favorite news source Wiki with a fill in the blanks I probably missed due to my run on masturbatory monologue.
And if you are Trekki here are some videos on what it was like being a part of Sci Fi history. DS9 Reflections from Cast.
Los Angeles -- If you were a kid, yes if, with technology the way it is today you wonder if there was a time when a kid could be a kid instead of a computer geek and worse yet, a text phone addict. Well I am glad to say there was a time when kids like me, I am still in the mental infancy stage, were naive slaves to the boob tube and/or the Saturday matinee at the Bejou where a good scare meant watching one of the ghoulish Universal characters make us feel like goulash after ninety minutes of fiendish horror and over the top acting. Who cares whether there was a plot or not. Come to think of it I never noticed. Well it went something like this a young couple gets stuck in a God forsaken place usually sounds like Pennsylvania but with a T instead of P and some guy with a busted back picks up there luggage as this ginormous storm kicks in out of nowhere just in time for a Bela Lugosi look a like or a Karloff knock off enters looking like a walking corpse from Dawn of The Dead, for nothing else but effect and to say Boo I can see you! Wasn't that the something called Rocky...no not the Stalone meat market vehicle the other meat market vehicle and really less meat...thin as a rail Tim Curry. No pork on that boy, then. Now, well?
Now if you really want the low down on who is to blame for all the hyped up evil. And you do. Put the blame on Jack Pierce, who is dead now, what else is new, who habituated the Universal back lot on Lankersheim and Ventura, now a Universal knock off Disneyland. Oops never mind. Let's continue, and came up in his sanitized make up bungalow on the back lot that looked like a medical boudoir from Ben Casey with lab coats and...you get the the picture. Hey that's Dr. Frankenstein!
Jack just might have been the inspiration for the notoriously tragic, misguided, delusional grander character personality trait that is Dr. Frankenstein. He did create the make up. WHAT! True, true, true but he is dead now and he can't come out of his grave to scare you, only his creations who reside online, with such cyberspace platforms as Youtube, Netflix, Hulu and an occasional pirated DVD from Cyprus. The country not the tree.
OK, truth be known, I have a wild uncontrollable vivid imagination. So sue me. But for lack of any seriousness on my part. I lost it when I went on overdrive after "If you were a kid" and forgot to down shift from 5th to 3rd.
If there was a This Is Your Life and there was with Karloff, Jack entered stage right that is left if you are a spectator, and looking like a shoe in for Frado Baggins dad mumbled a a couple of soundbites to Karloff's This Is The Best Make Up Man. Yes Boris he made your career along with Bela and Lon Chaney Jr., all the Hunchbacks except the French guy who had a penchant swinging from the rafters of the bell tower of Notre Dam. No doubt if he lived long enough probably would look more like Gandalf and would probably have created those characters too. But alas poor Jack he is none.
Well here below we have a featuret, what shorts were called in the day, about the legacy and influence Jack Pierce has had on every make up artist and master since his bloody make up reign at Universal as the father of filmed special effects make up. To learn more about this Greek immigrant. You can learn more about this wunderkind by clicking here the link to his Wikipedia bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Pierce_(makeup_artist)
BOO! Cut and print. Make up!
Los Angeles -- You sometimes forget in a moment of euphoria and enchantment that what you have just experienced was the culmination of countless numbers of talented artists and craftsmen working either in tandem or independent of one another, each with a unique contributing artisan skill that collectively breath life into a production along with an accompanying paycheck and a flourishing career. And that is my point, in spite our adulation of entertainment in general, it remains as it has a business like all businesses that in order to survive and grow must earn profits, otherwise the Hollywood as we know it today would have never come into existence.
With money as the motivator and negotiator, many a high profile personalty, be they the main talent in front of the camera or the above the line key personality behind the camera do accept on occasion jobs less flattering but essential in helping them over a financial hump they might be experiencing or a lag time between projects or even both.
Lost In Space without exception for example had two very dramatic musical motifs that Bill Mummy, who played the precocious Will Robinson, hummed during an interview. The tune in question was a musical number composed by a relatively obscure composer by the name of Herman Stein and the composition was titled as Family/The Robinsons first featured in two episodes, The Derelict and Welcome Stranger. The musical cues were then reused throughout the series to represent any particularly sentimental moment, mostly ones involving the Robinson family.
Thanks to Ben Boatwright Productions for posting on YouTube. Here is the link if you wish to explore further: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klS3GOQ6nIQ&list=RDklS3GOQ6nIQ&index=29
Bernard Hermann, Alfred Hitchcock's favorite film composer, who brought such "Hitch" classics as North By Northwest, Pyscho, The Man Who Knew Too Much to heightened levels of suspense, added one of the most dramatic and stunning musical motifs, the Belt, Rocket Ride of Dr. John Robinson. However, in actuality it was lifted from the Herrmann soundtrack for BENEATH THE 12 MILE REEF (1953).
John Williams of Star Wars fame and Jaws actually penned the theme songs to both the first season as well as the second and third. Here are the themes in the order that they were released.
I leave you with a visual trivia of memorabilia. Ah heck just throw the kitchen sink while your at it!
Compilation Interviews From The SCFI Channel Courtesy JLovebirch
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Irwin Allen the producer of disaster pictures like Earthquake, pre San Andreas, The Poseidon Adventure, and other catastrophic filmed entertainment was the king pin of adventure television in the 1960's. His four hallmark productions, today considered no less but classics were Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea, based on the movie of same name, Lost In Space, The Time Tunnel and Land of The Giants. There was one project, however, that did not get the green light, and that was City Under The Sea.
His uncanny sense of what viewers wanted and were willing to spend there evenings glued to the boob tube made him one of the most successful and sought after television producers of his time.
As the space program shifted into high gear Allan's team at 20th Century Fox, over on Motor Avenue and Pico Boulevard in West LA went into overdrive. Their answer to the sci-fi craze sweeping the nation was not Roddenbury's UN in outer space, Star Trek or as some would say at the time Wagon Train to the stars, the long running TV western, nor the surrealism of Serling's Twilight Zone, with its ironic surprise endings, but instead a family adventure for the entire family like Swiss Family Robinson.
As a matter of fact the surname of Robinson was the family name of the space family. The unaired episode had two characters not cast as of yet and possibly one of the reasons why CBS did not air the 1st pilot.
TV executives at the network after screening the 1 hour drama felt it needed a bit more of an edge. Enter Dr. Zachary Smith, played by the late character actor Jonathan Harris, as the villainous saboteur, who in the second pilot, The Reluctant Stowaway, attempts to destroy the Jupiter II by re programming the B-9 Robot to destroy the space vehicle once he departs the ship but instead of escaping he finds himself trapped inside the space vessel hurtling into the outreaches of uncharted space.
As background here is the Wikipedia spin on this now classic Sci-Fi that still has a warm fuzzy place in many of my generation's hearts and is also an excellent example of how to take a really way way out fantasy with improbable science and make it into a very real and entertaining venue by placing the value and emphasis not exclusively on the technology and effects as is today but rather instead on the plot, characters, and story development.
"No Place to Hide is the title of the 1965 pilot episode produced for CBS to promote the television series Lost in Space. The episode was directed by Irwin Allen. It was not broadcast for the first time until 1997, which is also the year of the fictional mission's liftoff.
The craft was initially called the Gemini 12, and postulated to undertake a century-long flight to Alpha Centauri. The passengers were stellar in scholastic accomplishment, the children prodigies. Don West was a doctor of geology, and John Robinson's title was also "Doctor". The pilot contained no irritating Dr. Smith, nor the robot, nor scary monsters,but is about the "happy family" adventures of the Robinsons.
The craft was damaged by a meteor swarm shortly after liftoff; the resulting damage sent the craft out of control and it was lost. The craft crashed on a habitable planet, and at some point after the crash, controlled regeneration awoke the six crewmembers. John Robinson was hopeful of a ship repair. After some weeks, they began to encounter problems of a serious nature that required them to abandon the spacecraft and hurry south to avoid a severe cold. After encountering a giant cyclops, discovering an abandoned castle in a cave, and proceeding with a perilous crossing of an inland sea... they reached a tropical sanctuary, where aliens observed them.
Unfortunately by the third Season Lost in Space evolved into a trio of characters as the main vehicle for the weekly episodic space adventure with the remaining cast members as window dressing to to speak. It became the Dr. Smith, Will, Robot show and possible the ultimate demise of the program as a result of the lack of creativity, sensitivity and vision of the writing team whose original concept was truly a family affair.
So here is the link to the original pilot, No Place To Hide.
You can read more about the backstory of Lost In Space on Wikipedia.
They sure don't make them that way anymore.
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